Campus Transport Safety

Sep 092004
Authors: Lauren Mattingly

With thousands of students maneuvering around campus, the sidewalks and streets can get very crowded – and very dangerous.

There are many accidents that can occur on campus and throughout Fort Collins involving pedestrians, bicycles and cars.

Capt. Bob Chaffee of the CSU Police Department said the same laws apply to cars, bicyclists and pedestrians and that the most important thing, as a pedestrian or bicyclist, is to make oneself visible.

Walkers and bikers do not have an exterior protection like the driver of a car, so they need to be more cautious because there are several things that can obstruct a car driver’s vision, said Rita Davis, a spokesperson for Fort Collins Police Services.

The city of Fort Collins and the CSU campus try to remain bike-friendly by allowing bicycles on roads and sidewalks.

“Unless otherwise posted, it is legal to ride a bicycle on the streets and sidewalks,” Chaffee said.

Graduate student Zheng Shusong, a plant genetics major, follows the rules of the road and always wears his helmet when biking.

“I feel somewhat more safe with a helmet and always use hand signals. It is better to give others a signal to let them know where you want to go,” Shusong said.

While bikers and cars can share a road, a fatal accident occurred just last weekend.

At 2 p.m. on Aug. 28, a 54-year-old avid bicyclist, Charles Young, was hit and killed by a car while participating in the Rocky Mountain Challenge, a three-day bike race that began in Boulder and traveled through Rist Canyon in Estes Park, to Hughes Stadium via Overland Trail and finished in Boulder.

Young was off course when he was hit at the intersection of West Mulberry Street and South Meldrum Street. He died from internal bleeding on his way to Poudre Valley Hospital.

“Young was wearing a helmet and legally riding his bicycle (on the street) with the flow of traffic,” said Rita Davis, Fort Collins Police Services spokeswoman.

The driver of the car, Pascal Ducept, 32, was driving his 2002 Honda Accord station wagon and made a legal turn when he hit Young.

He had a green light and was making a left hand turn from West Mulberry Street onto South Meldrum Street when he struck Young along the south curb-line.

Following the recent fatal biking accident, officials warn about the dangers of the road, especially when riding a bike.

“Even though you may have the right away, do not assert it,” Davis said.

Jen Johnson, a staff employee at the Lory Student Center, agrees that biking can be dangerous in any situation and not only wears a helmet as a precaution, but also uses a light on her bike for night riding.

“I stick to the bike lanes on roads and use trails for a more relaxing ride,” Johnson said. “Campus gets really dangerous when there are a lot of pedestrians.”

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